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How to pitch to journalists

You've crafted the perfect piece of content - now, you just need to get it in front of your target journalists. Account manager Fay Clarkson shares her top tips for ensuring your pitch stands out from the crowd.

How to pitch to journalists

It’s no secret that journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day.

And if yours isn’t spot on, it’s likely to be buried in a sea of emails.

A pitch is your opportunity to connect one-on-one with your target journalists, so it’s important to make the most of the opportunity.

But how can you ensure that your pitch will be read?

Here are a few top tips to make yours stand out from the crowd.

Build the perfect media list

First thing’s first, make sure your media list is relevant.

Think about where you want your story to be seen, and then narrow it down to which publications will be interested in running the story.

We all want our stories to be featured in the major nationals, but they are unlikely to cover local bar openings or job promotions.

Sending pitches that aren’t targeted can irritate journalists and could potentially get your emails blocked from them in the future.

What to include

Get to the point straight away, and that means in the subject line of the email – you want to spell out what the news is before the email is even opened.

If not, you’re risking the email going straight into the journalist’s deleted items folder.

Also, make sure that your pitch is written in honest, plain English.

Get straight to the facts and avoid hyperbole, clichés and buzzwords, making it short and concise.

Include the high-level who, what, where, and when, as well as any additional information that may entice the journalist to write a story.

Get to know the story

Ensure you know the story you’re pitching inside out.

While this may seem obvious, it is really important that you’re able to answer any questions straight away before the journalist moves on to another story.

You may even want to prepare a ‘cheat sheet’ to refer back to when you are asked questions.

This could include any company data that may be helpful in supporting your story, data on your industry and interesting pieces of information to add colour.

Build relationships

Make sure you’re spending time building personal relationships and speaking to the media early on in the process.

If that is not possible, at the very least get to know the type of subject the journalist usually writes about and the style they use so you can pitch the best angle for them.

Have a look through their previous work and take note of what you like about their writing or a particular piece they have recently written – be sincere, but not fawning.

Don’t hound or pester journalists either.

After your initial pitch, following up once or twice is fine – but any more than that and you’ll begin to get annoying.

Finally…

Be enthusiastic about the pitch!

They won’t be if you aren’t.

Tick all of these boxes, and, provided your announcement is newsworthy, you will stand a good chance of getting high-quality coverage as well as developing mutually beneficial relationships with the media.

Cartwright Communications has spent years developing relationships with journalists at local, regional, national and trade publications. Contact us if you need help in getting your content in front of the right people.

By Fay Clarkson

Fay has worked in both agency and in house environments, supporting clients that range from multi-national household names to independent start-ups. She has experience in B2B and consumer PR strategy and has secured coverage in national, regional and specialist trade publication in a range of sectors including construction, lifestyle and horticulture.

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